Skiing Nassfeld © Franz Gerdl, Kärnten Werbung
The sunny province of Carinthia, nestled on Austria’s southern border next to Italy and Slovenia, has a genuinely welcoming atmosphere. Therapeutic wellness spas, exquisite regional cuisine and peaceful nature walks form a wonderful backdrop to skiing holidays at world-class ski resorts such as Nassfeld and Bad Kleinkirchheim. This is the perfect place to spend a week relaxing with the family or with mates. To help spark your imagination, we’ve put together some suggestions on what to check out while you're here. With the new direct flights from London to Klagenfurt, getting here is easier than ever before. What are you waiting for?
Carinthia's ski resorts are perfect for beginner or intermediate skiers and families with children. Thanks to a favourable microclimate in this part of Austria, the ski resorts receive copious amounts of snow and an unusually high number of sunny days. At Carinthia's top ski areas, such as Nassfeld - Pressegger See and Bad Kleinkirchheim / St.Oswald & Falkert, you’ll find over 100km of pistes and a choice of alternate activities such as tobogganing and outdoor ice skating on the frozen lakes. Also very popular in Carinthia are cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking and ski touring through the magnificent winter countryside. Adrenaline junkies can venture out freeriding in the many off-piste trails.
Ski touring in Carinthia © Franz Gerdl, Kärnten Werbung
Ski touring is a big deal in Carinthia, which is understandable given the beautiful landscapes. An excellent way to get to know the region’s hidden secrets is with the newly created Nockberge Trail, which takes you to five different ski areas by day and several posh hotels by night. There are plenty of other options, whether you’re just starting out in ski touring or whether you’re an experienced explorer looking for a challenge. Grab your rucksack, climbing skins and touring bindings and discover another side to Carinthia.
Skiing is very easy on the wallet in Carinthia for families with young children. Kids under the age of 12 can ski for just €1 a day in Bad Kleinkirchheim, and kids 9 years old or younger receive free lift passes on certain days in Nassfeld. There is a good selection of ski schools in the area and most ski areas have dedicated children’s areas with mascots and fun decorations. Plus, there are tons of other activities to check out, especially around Christmas.
Carinthia lights up at Christmastime. Advent markets pop up in almost every town, selling homemade sweets and Christmas handicrafts. The Advent market in Bad Kleinkirchheim is one of the most popular, and the whole family will enjoy the children’s events at Velden am Wörthersee, aka ‘town of the angels’. Christmas trees appear in the middle of the lakes as if by magic, and Lake Millstätter See boasts a floating Christmas terrace. Grab a cup of mulled wine and enjoy!
Christmas market in Carinthia © Franz Gerdl, Kärnten Werbung
Carinthia prides itself on its culinary excellence and rustic charm – here you can savour fruity wines and tuck into fresh fish and artisanal products from the comfort of a serene lakeside terrace. Thanks to its location on the border of Austria, Italy and Slovenia, Carinthian-Alpine-Adriatic cuisine draws its inspiration from the sunny Mediterranean and its joie de vivre approach to life. Carinthia’s farmers and artisans are proud of their heritage and the region is proud to ‘live with vigour, enjoy with ease’.
Mouthwatering Carinthian cuisine © Carletto Photography, Kärnten Werbung
After a long day of skiing, nothing is better than sinking into a heated outdoor pool with a view of the mountains. In the spa town of Bad Kleinkirchheim you’ll find two spas, the Thermal Römerbad sauna and the recently renovated Therme St. Kathrein, just steps away from the ski area. That might just be why Bad Kleinkirchheim’s motto is ‘off the piste and into the spa’! Elsewhere in Carinthia, you’ll find plenty of other spa and wellness options, including the Kärnten Therme in Villach which is child-friendly and offers a full-moon sauna experience. It wouldn't a be proper ski holiday without the chance to soothe your aching muscles!
Infinity pool at Gerlitzen © Kärnten Werbung, Fotograf: Franz Gerdl
Whenever you come, you're almost guaranteed to find an event going on somewhere in Carinthia. New Year’s Day in Carinthia is celebrated with a chilly swim in Lake Wörthersee and a well-earned party afterwards at the Schlosshotel Velden. On January 13 and 14, Bad Kleinkirchheim welcomes back the Alpine Ski World Cup for the Ladies’ downhill and Super G races. The Schlag das ASS, longest ski race in the world, will take place at Nassfeld on January 26 and 27, while the Weissensee Winter Triathlon is celebrated on January 28. And from January 22 to February 3, visitors to Carinthia will have a unique chance to watch the traditional Dutch 11 Cities speed skating marathon at Lake Weissensee. On January 16, February 6 and February 20, several lucky skiers will have the opportunity to spend the morning skiing and enjoying brunch with champion alpine ski racer Franz Klammer at Bad Kleinkirchheim.
Carinthia is a destination that everybody should experience at least once in their lifetime. Far from the crowds that dominate the other ski resorts in Austria, you’ll have the bluebird skies and powder snow all to yourself during your Carinthian skiing holidays. Direct flights with EasyJet between London Gatwick and Klagenfurt depart weekly throughout ski season - don't miss this opportunity!
Note: Header image © Franz Gerdl, Kärnten Werbung
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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